What a lovely berry, the gooseberry! When was the last time you saw or heard of a gooseberry? Well, my opportunity was a few weeks ago when I went with my garden club to tour a lovely country garden in Clifton, a small town near Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Two women run a business called “Herbs and Lace” where they make homemade baked goods and jellies and hold English tea parties for groups in a little tea house situated in their English country garden — open for private tours.
One of the ladies is from Peterborough, England – a town whose only claim to fame is its proximity to London and its marvelous medieval cathedral that dominates the city center. She remembers participating in her grandmother’s Afternoon Teas – serving tiny cress sandwiches and Victoria Sponge cake while the sun shone on her grandfather’s rose graden visible from the bungalow’s bay window.
She’s recreated that setting and the effect is delightful. When I was there, her cherry tree was ripe with fruit and she let me have a taste. Imagine! Picking fresh tart cherries off the branch, devoid of pesticides and tasting the fruit pop in your mouth with juice that excited your taste buds. I do plan to go back.
Before I left, I purchased several homemade jams and jellies in appreciation for their generosity and time and the first one I opened up to try was their Gooseberry Jam.
What a taste adventure! It was tart and sweet, consisting only of sugar, gooseberries, and reduced sugar pectin. That’s it.
I am not a big jelly or jam user but I made an exception for this. Its flavor really stood out and complemented my homemade whole wheat bread – toasted to perfection (in my case, to extra crispyness).
This was one of life’s little pleasures and I enjoyed it indeed. Next jar to open? — Terragon Black Currant Jelly.
If you’d like to schedule a private tour for your group (large or small), their cottage industry is called “Herbs and Lace”. Lisa and Sharon can be reached at P.O. Box 30, Clifton, Ohio 45316 937-767-1085. I can’t guarantee they have any Gooseberry Jam left, but you could ask. Be sure to let them know we sent you!